From Lynda Cohen Loigman, the bestselling author of The Two-Family House and The Wartime Sisters, comes a heartwarming story of two extraordinary women from two different eras who defy expectations to utilize their unique gift of seeing soulmates in the most unexpected places in The Matchmaker’s Gift.
HISTORICAL HAPPY HOUR
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The Matchmaker’s Gift by Lynda Loigman
In this episode of Historical Happy Hour, Jane hosts Lynda Cohen Loigman to discuss her book “The Matchmaker’s Gift.” Loigman shares the book’s dual timeline narrative, covering the story of Sarah, a young Jewish immigrant with a unique gift for matchmaking in 1910 New York, and her granddaughter Abby in 1994, who inherits this gift. The discussion delves into the inspiration behind the novel, the challenges of writing dual narratives, and incorporating magical realism. Loigman also discusses her extensive research on the Lower East Side Jewish immigrant community, the development of her characters, and her writing process. The cover design, reflecting Jewish marriage contracts, and Loigman’s advice for aspiring writers are also highlighted.
Here’s what we covered
- [00:00] Introduction of Lynda Cohen Loigman and “The Matchmaker’s Gift”
- [02:05] Inspiration and premise of “The Matchmaker’s Gift”
- [05:47] Challenges and process of writing a dual narrative
- [07:55] Incorporating magical realism
- [10:16] Research on the Lower East Side Jewish immigrant community
- [14:32] Character development and writing process
- [18:40] Cover design and symbolism
- [21:41] Title evolution and story themes
- [24:07] Audience for historical fiction and central themes
- [26:44] Advice for aspiring writers and staying in touch
[00:00:00] Jane: All right. Hello everyone and welcome to the last historical happy hour of 2023 and I’m with my dear friend Lynda Loigman. I’m so excited to end the year with her book, The Matchmaker’s Gift because it’s amazing and it is a great Christmas and Hanukkah present too. So it’s just, I’m so happy that she’s here.
She’s a little under the weather. I hurt my back, but we’re going to power through this.
[00:00:26] Lynda: Exactly. Between the two of us, we’re like the walking, like illness, whatever, but we’re okay. I am so happy to see you. So after I say goodbye to you, I’m probably going to curl up and fall asleep. But right now, I’m super happy.
[00:00:42] Jane: We’re going to make it through. And then I’m going to be on the couch with my heating pad and my dog.
[00:00:48] Lynda: I’ll be with my NyQuil.
[00:00:51] Jane: That’s right. That’s your happy hour cocktail, your NyQuil tonight.
[00:00:55] Lynda: If I had a glass of wine right now, I would be past it. I’d be, I would be snoring.
[00:01:01] Jane: So thank you for doing this despite not feeling well.
I’m going to jump in with a quick intro. Lynda Loigman, Lynda Cohen Loigman grew up in Longmeadow, Mass. She received a BA in English and American Literature from Harvard. And a JD from Columbia Law. Her debut novel two Family House was a USA Today bestseller and a nominee for the Good Reads 2016 Choice Awards in historical fiction.
Her second novel, the Wartime Sisters, was selected as a Woman’s World Book Club pick, and a best book of 2019 by Real Simple Magazine. Magazine. The Matchmaker’s Gift is our third novel, and it was known named the Best Book of Fall by Parade. BuzzFeed, New York Post, and People Magazine, and I loved this book, and it’s so funny, I was at a book club the other night, and I said that I was talking to you Thursday on this webinar, and someone was like, I just finished that book, and I loved it, and I said, I know, it’s delightful, and I’m so excited to talk to you about it.
So tell everyone about the premise of this novel, and the story about how you were inspired to write it.
[00:02:05] Lynda: Sure. So this is my first dual timeline story. So this is a story about Sarah, who comes to New York in 1910 as a young girl, and she’s an immigrant. She lands on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, and she quickly discovers that she has this gift for seeing people’s soulmates.
And then it is also about her granddaughter, Abby, and Abby’s timeline takes place in 1994. And she’s very inconveniently inherited this gift and it’s inconvenient for Abby because of course she happens to be a divorce attorney. So this idea that she is seeing soulmates on, without being asked to see them, they’re, she doesn’t want this gift.
And it’s really jeopardizing the career that she’s worked so hard to build. So this was my COVID book. Books that you’re talking to people about now. All the COVID books are out now. And I wrote this book. I was actually working on a different book when I started to write this book.
And my daughter, I got a call from my daughter. Jane and I talk about our kids a lot, so I got a phone call from my daughter in March of 2020, crying. They just sent us an email that we have to leave the dorms, they’re shutting down the school. So she was on her way home, and she said, could I bring my roommate?
And so my daughter’s name is Ellie, and her roommate is Adele. And of course we said yes, because we wanted them to have continue the school experience a little bit, because they were getting cut off early. So a couple things happened, which sort of led me to write this book.
And the first thing was when they came home, I had triple the number of women in the house. I was living with my teenage son and my husband and my dog. All of whom are men. And then when the girls came home, it was like, we had a whole different dinner. Conversations. And we were talking about women’s issues and women in the working world and like things they were facing at school with guys and just things they were worried about.
We talked about my career and like things that I had faced and we like very quickly came to the conclusion, of course, that things had not changed as much as we wish that they had changed in all the time since I was working and I was their age. And then yeah. So that was in my head, which is why when people read the character of Sarah, she’s such a strong woman and she’s fighting for her place in the professional world that she’s in, in the world of matchmakers on the literary side.
And so they’re inspirate, they really inspired me Ellie and Adele, and I dedicated the book to them because I saw that. Yes. Like those conversations with them that put me in the headspace to write Sarah the way that I wrote her. But then the other thing that really and it was the main impetus for a matchmaker story was we were binge watching like everybody was doing.
And our first binge watch was Indian matchmaking, which is a great next step.
[00:04:43] Jane: Love that show.
[00:04:46] Lynda: And when we were done, Adele turned to me and said, my grandmother was an Orthodox Jewish matchmaker in Brooklyn. And she pulled up this article on her phone, an article from the New York Times in 1977.
And it had this huge picture of her grandmother. And it just there was something about that article. The way it was written, just the idea I was like, I think that would be like, what a great story that would be, a matchmaker and a granddaughter and I don’t know, I just, I couldn’t get it out of my head.
And so I told my agent about it and she became really interested in it right away, called me the next day. Wanted to talk to my editor and they all decided that I should put aside the book I was working on then and start the matchmaker book But of course, like I’m not a romance writer and a matchmaking book sounds an awful lot like romance But I write historical fiction, which is why I get to be on your show Which is why you know, that was my first like big hurdle Like how am I gonna come at this from a historical standpoint?
What time period am I gonna use like what’s it gonna be? So that was like the first big like question that I had to face
[00:05:47] Jane: Excellent. Yeah. And when you that’s actually leads to my next question, because I have never written a dual narrative. I find them very intimidating and you did it so well.
And was it was the intention to always write a dual narrative or was did that kind of did you figure that out around along the way? What were you thinking?
[00:06:04] Lynda: I had never done it either. It was just, I don’t, it was just this idea that I wanted to write about the granddaughter having this other career.
So I knew that they would, there would be two timelines. Like I really wanted to write about Sarah, and I really wanted to write about Abby. But they both, I didn’t want to do that trope y thing that happens a lot, where it’s like, Present day and then somebody finds like a piece of jewelry from their grandmother and then there’s these little short flashbacks to the past.
I wanted it to really be full, two complete arcs. And I wanted them to have a relationship in the present, which is the 1994 timeline. Like it’s not the present, it’s the recent past. Which they do. Sarah is in Abby’s story too. And so I, the only way that I could do it. is the way that I go at all of my books, which is to write it in the order that you read it.
I can’t, I cannot write one timeline and the other timeline and then mix them up together, braid them together. I have to do it in exactly the order that you read it. So that’s what I did. And it was really hard because it was almost like writing two separate, Yes.
[00:07:13] Jane: Yeah. Yeah Susie Ormond Schnall just commented and said, It’s easy.
You only have to write two half books. Which is true.
[00:07:24] Lynda: In that, yeah, it’s two shorter stories, but they still have to be complete stories. Complete arcs.
[00:07:30] Jane: Complete story. Yeah. I know. Hi, Susie. Thanks for being on. So the other thing that was interesting for me, like I loved your other two books, but this one has an element of magical realism that your other two books didn’t have.
And I’m just curious If if this was hard for you to do and you incorporated it so well, like I just it was just enough, and I, how did you figure that? How’d you do it? How’d you figure that out?
[00:07:55] Lynda: That was, I struggled with the idea of it for a long time because look you’ve been writing a bunch of books.
All of us who’ve written a bunch of books know that it’s very hard to pivot. It, you don’t want to switch genres. The publishers want you to stay where you are to bring your readers with you. It’s, there’s a lot of issues with pivoting this way or that way. This book for me was like a nice sort of turning in a direction that I wanted to go in because I love books with magical realism.
I love like people who know me know like I love that Addie LaRue book and I love every Alice Hoffman book, especially the ones that are that you know that have magical realism in them. Yes, I love all those kinds of stories and to me those are like Those are, like, the stories that comfort me, that I want to curl up with.
Those are what I love. So to write that was, like, very intimidating because I didn’t want to mess it up. And I knew that I couldn’t just jump in. And just write a fantasy book, which is not really what I want to do anyway, I don’t want to write a fantasy book. But I do have a lot of respect for people who do that, it takes a lot of world building.
So this book was like just enough of it that I could like stay in my lane, but just add a little bit of something different. It was. I don’t know. It lent it, love is always a little magical, right? So like it lent itself to it, but I was very careful about it and I tried not to put too much into it.
I was really worried about it. I sent the book to my editor when I was about halfway done to see, to make sure that she thought it was working because there was enough of it by the halfway point that I, and I’ve just really trusted her and I knew if she said it was okay, then it would be okay.
[00:09:42] Jane: Oh, excellent.
Yeah, no, I loved the way that you’d incorporate it was subtle and believable. I loved it. So another question I had, because I’ve heard another interview where you talked about this, the setting and the details of life in New York in the 1910s and the 1990s are wonderful. And I heard I read about your notes, I read your notes in the back about the research, I heard an interview.
So tell me about the extensive research you did, particularly the details that captured the Lower East Side Jewish immigrant community in the 1900s.
[00:10:16] Lynda: So I couldn’t go anywhere like I wanted to go to the Lower East Side, but I couldn’t because it was the early days of COVID when nobody was like, I would never have gone into the city at that point.
But there are a lot of resources online, which are great. So I turned to the New York Public Library and the Jewish Museum and the Museum of Jewish Heritage online. The Tenement Museum online had great. Oh, yeah. And then the Museum at Eldridge Street. So the Museum at Eldridge Street is, for those who don’t know, I, there’s, it’s like a very old synagogue on the Lower East Side, which is still there.
It has these amazing stained glass windows, and it’s just a really neat place to go visit. But they had an exhibit online called Love on the Lower East Side, which was fantastic. Yeah, so that and that exhibit referenced this wedding. Which was, like the, led me really to picking this time period.
Because at that point I was still like, okay, am I going to write about the 1950s? Am I going to do the 1970s? What is Sarah, what time is Sarah going to be in? So that Love on the Lower East Side exhibit referenced this wedding that took place in 1909. And that was the wedding of this woman, Edith Karp, and her father was called the pickle millionaire of New York.
So he’s the inspiration. He was the inspiration. And that wedding had 2, 000 people, and it was on Rivington Street. The police had to come to keep the crowds, organized. And It was just this fascinating article for a lot of reasons. First of all, it blew me away that like the New York Times in 1909 is writing about an immigrant wedding, like a Jewish immigrant wedding.
That seemed very odd because it seemed like, okay, they would write about society weddings, but this was definitely not a society wedding. It was a huge wedding, but it was not a society wedding. So that was one thing that caught my attention. And then the other thing was this really weird line in it. That was like, this wedding was not like a, an arranged marriage.
It wasn’t made by, in the usual way, with a sharchan, which is the Yiddish word for matchmaker. So I was like, what is the New York Times like using Yiddish for?
[00:12:15] Jane: Oh, I love it.
[00:12:17] Lynda: That was really odd. And then there was also this wonderful line, which somebody like deserved an award for the reporter, which was The scent of orange blossoms and roses at this wedding mingled with the odor of dried herring and pickles.
So that’s the line that I pretty much memorized by now. But when I read that, I sent it to my editor and I was like, this is what I want this book to be. Like I want it roses and pickles. Like it’s going to have these romantic elements, but then these gritty Lower East Side elements. And that helped me.
When I read that, I was like, okay, This is my time period. 1909, 1910, that’s when she’s going to first start her matchmaking, and that’s when she’s going to be growing up. And it was, there was also, like, when I saw the Yiddish word in the New York Times, I did a search for that word. Like in the New York Times archive because I was like, what’s with this word?
I hadn’t even heard it before I didn’t know that word. Oh, really?
[00:13:15] Jane: Oh, wow
[00:13:16] Lynda: I mean I’d heard of a shit off which is a match, but I hadn’t heard of a shotgun So I did a search for it and when I did the search this other article came up which was from 1910 and it was like Rates for Husbands on the Rise.
And it, it was this really neat article that said that at that time in New York City, there were over 5, 000 professional matchmakers, and the bulk of them were men. So that article was like, just like gold, because all of a sudden I know that, and then I’m thinking about all the stuff that I talked to Ellie and Adele about, right?
Like all those conversations we were having about working women, I was like, okay, this is a woman. She’s up against all these men, they’re going to be resentful, and this is what it’s going to be, like, they’re, that’s, it’s a man’s world in this career, even though we don’t think of it that way, we think of it as a thing that women do, but back then, no, it was men, mostly, and she’s going to be doing it, and they’re, she’s going to do their job better than they can, and they’re going to resent her for it, so that handed me everything on a silver platter, there was my conflict there was the story, right there.
[00:14:22] Jane: Oh, amazing. And I love that you were collaborative with your daughter and her friend. Like, how cool is that? Did you run things by them throughout the process, or? Not really, no.
[00:14:32] Lynda: Adele speaks Yiddish fluently, so Adele actually I would check some Yiddish with her. I’d be like, Adele what would a person say here?
What would, and she read the book when it was done for the Yiddish stuff. And my daughter, like Ellie, wants to go to law school Ellie and Abby is very ambitious in the story, and my daughter is very ambitious, so my daughter was some of the inspiration, for Abby but, no, I didn’t really run things by the story, I don’t really run my story choices by anybody my story choices are just my choices, Yeah.
[00:15:07] Jane: Yeah. Yeah. I feel like it ruined, you ruined the mojo if you talk about it too much. There’s something about that, that yeah, I keep it to myself till towards the end and then when you feel like you’re, it’s ready to share. Yeah. So do you do, like Sarah and Abby and the other characters in the novel, do you do a lot of character development and thought about characters before you write or is that kind of evolved?
Do you just develop the characters as you’re writing them, as you’re drafting?
[00:15:34] Lynda: So I my children make fun of me for this, like everyone in my house makes fun of me for this, but like a lot of, sorry, a lot of my writing time is just like thinking time, so it’s not I know there are those like exercises that some people will give you, if you took a writing test, they would say write a letter from your character to their mother, and to come up with backstories in the more methodical way.
But I just sit and think a lot. It’s just a lot of sitting and thinking, taking walks with the dog, thinking while I’m doing that, thinking in the shower. Like in the shower is where I came up with Abby being a divorce lawyer. Like I was like, okay, she’s going to be a lawyer and she’s going to be cynical and love is going to elude her.
[00:16:14] Jane: But then I was like, wait, she’s a divorce lawyer.
That’s that’s the best because. For her. Yeah. Perfection. Yeah. Yeah.
[00:16:19] Lynda: And then, I knew why she divorced her, okay her parents had a terrible divorce, and then it’s gonna, like, all click together from there. But I I don’t outline it the way some people might do.
I just but I think about it for a long time. That’s why I’m such a slow writer. It’s because I’m just trying to figure out my characters and who they are, but I’m pretty slow because of that. Because I will have a writing day, but I don’t write like more than a sentence because I’m just like, Processing
[00:16:44] Jane: so you said you’re, we talked about this right before we jumped on the call, but you’re not really a plotter, you’re a pantser as we talk about in writing, and tell me about your process, like how, it sounds like you write free, freehand from the beginning and then map it out towards the end, is that what you’re,
[00:17:02] Lynda: I know yeah, what I want to happen.
I know generally who my characters will be. I know how I want it to begin and I know how I want it to end. And I know certain oops, did I lose you? I was like, that’ll come back.
[00:17:14] Jane: Okay.
[00:17:16] Lynda: I know like certain, I would say they’re like these stopping points. If you mapped out a road trip, you would have like your places where you would stop to get food or stop to sleep or stop to use the bathroom or whatever.
And so that’s what I have in a book. I have these stopping points. I don’t write them down. I tend to just keep it in my head, but I have my dramatic scenes that I know that I want to hit. So maybe when I start writing, I have five of them or something like that. Okay. Thanks. Bye. Bye. Interesting. As the show goes on, more of them pop up.
And then like, when I get to about 100 pages of a book, then I know I’m solidly in, and then I start to outline. And then I’m like, okay I very loosely outline the second two thirds. When I get to two thirds of the way, then I outline in a much more detailed way because I only have 100 pages or so left.
So then, and then the closer I get when I have 50 pages left, then I really outline because I know like I have to get certain things to happen.
[00:18:13] Jane: Oh, to wrap up everything. Yeah. Yeah. Tie everything together.
[00:18:17] Lynda: No. What those things are going to be yet exactly until I get there. So I I don’t know, it’s a weird, maybe that’s weird, but that’s
[00:18:24] Jane: I think it’s, it’s so fascinating to me talking to different writers because everyone’s process is so different and it’s whatever works and it works for you, obviously. Yeah.
[00:18:33] Lynda: Sometimes it makes me insane, but I
[00:18:40] Jane: think writing in general makes people insane though. So we were talking to before.
I love this cover. I’m going to hold it up again because it’s so beautiful and I’d love for you to talk about the symbolism and what it represents and how much you had to say in the design. And I know you have something to show too.
[00:19:02] Lynda: So this cover, I had the most Yeah, I have it too. Okay. Good. But you have that cool, like you yours actually mine is backwards, but I had the most input on this cover.
And so my editor was really wonderful. And she I had a lot of thoughts and she told me to start a Google doc. And I put in things that were inspiring me for the cover and the Google doc. And what I felt very early on was. That I wanted it to look like a Ketubah and for those who don’t know a Ketubah is a Jewish marriage contract And so I have my Ketubah, which I took off the wall.
We usually get them framed and they’re big, right? So this is like a big thing. It’s so cool Always like really highly decorated and they’re often floral and they often have like symbols There’s all different kinds and now there are such cool ones now if you look on Instagram if you look for Ketubahs on Instagram, there’s beautiful ones and It’s just, it’s, I think Ketubahs actually are supposed to protect the women in the relationship.
It’s like the things that the husband’s supposed to do. But, yeah, it’s interesting. But now, the language in them is mine is, has very modern language. But if you look at this one, it has like it has symbols in it, right? So it has, whoops, sorry. There’s a Torah there, there’s a house, like. There’s a mezuzah and there’s a temple.
So it’s like the things for a happy marriage. There’s a tree, like the tree of life or the tree of family that you create. So it’s like symbols to send send you off with good luck and joy on your wedding day and all that sort of thing. So I wanted them, I wanted there to be things like that in mine.
And of course the pickles I specifically asked for. I was like, please. And then we have the glasses because there’s a spectacle salesman in the story who figures really prominently and his granddaughter is someone that Sarah knows and Abby knows also. And then there are wedding rings, of course and a bracelet.
The bracelet is different from the way it’s described in the book. And then the very controversial Bride and Groom. And it’s controversial because I actually didn’t want the Bride and Groom. I’m like, I look at this book like this, because it doesn’t make it look too romance y. Maybe it doesn’t make it look historical enough but they really loved the Bride and Groom.
So they’re like, they, how could I really complain? Like they did everything
that I asked.
[00:21:21] Jane: Oh, it’s beautiful. Yeah.
Swish, Oh yeah. I love it. Yeah,
[00:21:26] Lynda: it really shows like what Sarah’s gift is. So I do. I love the cover. It makes me really happy.
[00:21:32] Jane: Yeah, gorgeous. It’s one of my favorites.
I’ve seen in a while. I really love it. So was the matchmaker’s gift always the title or did you have a different title?
[00:21:41] Lynda: So because the way this book happened, like it was, I didn’t even they wanted me to write this book and they told me to write it and I didn’t even have like a synopsis, a sentence, nothing.
There was nothing except just, I’m going to write a matchmaker book. Anybody like wanted it. But early on, when you have to announce, when you have a deal, they do the deal announcements and publishers marketplace or whatever. So the title that they. That they wanted was the matchmakers library and I really liked that title, but I was a little worried about it just because I didn’t know what I was, what the library was, yeah, article that my daughter’s roommate showed me referenced a file cabinet, like a matchmakers file cabinet. I thought I think when I first saw my agent about it, I was really into thinking about that. The mixed up files of Mrs.
Bassel, E. Frank White. Oh yeah. So I was like, what if it was called like the mixed up files of, some, like Sarah, whatever. And she said, that sounds like a YA book and I don’t think that would be a good idea. But the idea of a file cabinet that got turned over and all the paperwork in the, in it got messed up was like in my head.
Like maybe. They would make all wrong matches. Maybe that’s how it would start or something. I don’t know. I was just trying to figure out what the story was. So when they said the matchmaker’s library and then I picked the time period and I was like I don’t think there were really like file cabinets, although there probably were wooden file cabinets in 1910.
But then it became journals, I was like it’s her own personal library, like journals, but it’s not like a library, like a building, a library. It’s just. It’s her own personal little collection of matches that she has made. So I was down with that title, and I was like, okay, I, but then when I wrote the first draft, I think it was after I gave them the first draft, it’s really a gift that she has, and her granddaughter has the gift too, and they said, you know what we think the matchmaker’s gift is a much more fitting.
title. And then I really liked that also.
[00:23:40] Jane: Yeah, that works because it works on a couple levels, like the gift of the journals and the gift that they have. Yeah, I love it. Really good.
[00:23:46] Lynda: It does make it sound a little more romance y though. That’s the only danger. Matchmaker’s Library sounds a little more historical than Matchmaker’s Gift.
And so this book, like the thing I worry about a little with this book is will the historical people, the historical fiction lovers find it? Because it doesn’t always, This is a story that has come across as a historical novel, even though it is. So yeah, I hope they all can find it.
[00:24:07] Jane: Oh, I think they will.
And I think that, yes, there’s romance in it, but that is not the central relationship. That’s not the central part of the story. It’s like the romances are on the side and they’re lovely and you weave them in. But it’s really like a. A story about family and friends and and it’s particularly a granddaughter and grandmother story.
So yeah, I so keep that in mind. Historical fiction lovers will definitely love it. So I have a couple more questions. And then if anyone has questions, you can put it in the Q& A or the webinar chat, but I think that something’s going on with the webinar chat. So put them in the Q& A and I will take questions from the audience.
So this is your third novel. Did you find this one easier or harder to write than your first?
[00:24:50] Lynda: It certainly was quicker. My first one took me five years to write, and this I wrote in less than a year, so it was quicker, but I don’t know. I guess this one was easier. It got a little easier.
The first one was really hard.
[00:25:04] Jane: Yeah, I, yeah, for me, too. I, but I think, I don’t know if They’ve, they’re all hard for me, but I think the process, I know the process, at least, like I have a process and it’s like you said with yours it’s quirky, but it works for me. And I guess that’s good.
[00:25:19] Lynda: I always say this, I feel like, I’ve never trained for a marathon, and I really don’t think I ever will. But I feel like if you said to me, okay, you’re going to train for a marathon, I would be like, there’s no way I could possibly do it. I just couldn’t. I’m just not in shape. I just couldn’t do it.
But then Maybe I could. I don’t know. If I really forced myself to, I could. And then the next time people tend to if they run a marathon, a lot of times people will run it more than once, That’s true. Later they do it again. Because they realize that they can, so it’s like the mental hurdle, once you get over the mental hurdle of knowing that you can do something, and that’s how it is with writing a book.
In the beginning, the idea of writing 300 pages is just so daunting. It’s there’s no way to ever do it. But once you do it, you’re like, I guess I can. I guess it’s just like 30 sessions of 10 pages each. I guess I can break it down into these smaller, more manageable chunks and you realize, okay, like I could do this.
[00:26:13] Jane: Yes, that’s absolutely true. I was talking to this book club the other night and I said, I just think about it as math. And I’m like, okay, I have to get to 100, 000 words. How do I do that without losing my mind? A thousand words? How many times? Yeah, it’s just math.
[00:26:26] Lynda: Yeah. Very true. Take it into smaller bite sized pieces.
[00:26:29] Jane: Yeah, completely. So one thing I know there’s some aspiring authors in the audience and I always ask towards the end of the conversation, what’s the best advice you can give to writers who are just starting out?
[00:26:44] Lynda: It’s just, there’s a couple things. One thing is to take a class. And find a group, find, I wanted to write a story for 15 years and I never did because I didn’t know how and I took a class to help me.
I took a class at Sarah Lawrence and it was just like a class at 11 o’clock in the afternoon because that’s when my kids were in school and it was a time that fit. And then I found a community within that, class. So I think that’s really important because I think the most important thing.
Is that you have to think of yourself as a writer and then you feel like such an imposter at first. It’s you write two pages and you’re like, I’m a writer, but you don’t feel like a writer and you don’t want to tell anyone that you’re a writer. But unless you think of yourself that way and take yourself seriously that way, it’s not going to happen.
[00:27:28] Jane: Yeah, that is excellent advice. Yeah. I always say like you, you have to start If you really want it, you have to make the time for it and realize that it’s, you’re, it’s valuable time and you have to give the time to it and own it and like you said, take it seriously and take yourself seriously.
Yeah, completely agree. Tell us how people can keep in touch with you. And if you want to share a little bit about what you’re working on now, and then if anyone has questions, I’d love to take questions. There’s a few couple comments I’ll read too.
[00:27:56] Lynda: So you can email me, you can go to my website, which is Lyndacohenloigman.
com. And that has my email, which is Lyndacohenloigman at gmail. com, which is my full name at gmail. And I’m on Instagram at lloigman. And I’m on Twitter. I don’t know why I really have to make the same thing. I, for some reason, my Twitter is different. It’s Lynda C. Loigman. I don’t know why. And I don’t know how long Twitter will be around, but I’m on Twitter still.
And I’m on Facebook too. So I have a pretty, I do post a lot on Facebook still. And I’m just, you can just look for Lynda Cohen, like an author on Facebook. And I do I love to zoom with with book clubs. I need a little notice. So sometimes book clubs are like, can you zoom with us tomorrow?
So just give me a little notice if you can, and I’ll look and I’ll try to do it. December is getting pretty booked, but I’m happy to do it. And. What else can I tell you? Oh, what I’m working on now. It’s another sort of uplifting historical story that has another dash of magical realism in it.
And it’s inspired by my husband’s great grandmother, who was a pharmacist and graduated from pharmacy school in 1921. And I just think a pharmacy. It’s a, so it takes place at a pharmacy in Brooklyn, but the story that I heard most about my husband’s great grandmother was that like she kept doctoring her certificates and her paperwork so that she was practicing till she was really old, cause like they always thought she was 10 years younger than she was.
So the story is about a woman, it’s it’s two timelines, but it’s the same woman. It’s like her when she’s 80, and she’s finally forced to retire because the jig is up because they finally figure out that she’s been lying all these years, like her as a coming into her own, but she’s she, her father’s a pharmacist, and she’s caught between her father’s very strict adherence to, exact measurements, and science, and the scientific stuff about medicine, and her, this relative that she has who’s like like concocting stuff in her kitchen,
[00:29:52] Jane: like herbal remedies and things like that.
[00:29:55] Lynda: Yeah. So she has to choose a side, like what do you put your faith in?
[00:29:59] Jane: Interesting. Fascinating. Does that have a working title yet or not really? It
[00:30:04] Lynda: Has a working title, but I don’t know what if this will be the title, but it’s maybe going to be called like the love elixir of Augusta Stern.
[00:30:13] Jane: Oh, excellent. Okay. Comments here if anyone has any questions, please. Put them in the Q& A. Susan Seligman, who’s so delightful and comes to all of these. And Susan, I’m glad you made it on tonight because I saw a comment that you were trying to make your iPad work. Just wanted to say hi to both Lynda and Jane.
Love all your books so much. Thank you. Thank you for sharing these stories. The Matchmaker’s Gift is such a gift to your readers. The settings of the Lower East Side during the early 1900s and the city in the 1990s were so vivid and realistic. It brought me back to my time living there. The characters were empathetic and relatable and I just love everything about this book.
That’s so sweet. Thank you. Thank you, Susan. And Demi McBride says, loving this book and I got it because of historical happy hour. Thank you. I’m so glad to hear that. Yay. And Sharon, who’s on often too. Thank you for coming. Sharon, I just received your book this week as an early Christmas present and I can’t wait to read it.
Do you still get nervous doing live author events?
[00:31:10] Lynda: I don’t ever get nervous doing author events. I don’t, I think it’s because, I used to be a lawyer and when I was a lawyer, I was always nervous, always. And so really, yeah, I was always nervous that I was going to get something wrong. Cause I was a trust and estates lawyer.
And I was so nervous about the tax law that I was going to get something wrong. And we used to have to do like every six months or a year, we used to have to do these like seminars for accountants where we would speak on a topic and it would be like Continuing education for accountants and we would have to get up and talk and they would ask us questions and that was like the most terrifying thing.
Please don’t ask me about the taxes. And the accountants were asking me and they were so practical and I was like, I didn’t know. Oh, it was awful. So I always say, like, why should I be nervous? I can’t get anything wrong because I made it up.
[00:32:05] Jane: That’s true.
[00:32:05] Lynda: If I say it’s right, then I think it’s right, so I don’t get
[00:32:09] Jane: it.
[00:32:10] Lynda: Excellent. Yeah. I love talking to readers.
[00:32:13] Jane: That’s a good point. Yeah. Yeah. And, yeah, the audience is always warm and friendly, which is lovely. Yeah. I really do always love it. It’s not all accountants.
[00:32:20] Lynda: Yeah. There’s always something wacky that happens, I feel like. I don’t know. Like, when I go home, when I go, I’m from Western Massachusetts, so when I go home to Western Massachusetts there are people in the audience who I grew up with, or my teachers, or it’s just
[00:32:33] Jane: that’s the best. I love that. Yeah. I did a book club with one of my old teachers from high school and her friends the other night and it was so great. Yeah, so great. Okay, one more comment from Mindy and, oh, wait a minute. Thanks for the wonderful discussion. Jane and Lynda, love the matchmakers gift.
Thank you Mindy, for coming on again. And as someone who grew up on the Lower East Side, I really enjoyed it. I loved the story and the characters, and Susan said, thank you for reading my comment. Love you both. You guys are all so nice. Thank you. I’m gonna wrap it up because I know you’re not feeling well.
Lynda came on tonight. She’s a hero with a fever and everything else going on.
[00:33:10] Lynda: You have a bad back.
[00:33:11] Jane: I have a bad back. Like only one functioning person. I know we’re a hot mess tonight, but I’m it was delightful as always to talk to you.
[00:33:20] Lynda: Imagine if we were both feeling well.
[00:33:23] Jane: I know. Exactly. And we will hopefully we’ll get together in 2023 in person.
That would be so great. And so feel better. Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah, everyone. And this is a great gift. So bye for either. All right. Good to see you. Good night, everyone. Thank you so much.
HISTORICAL HAPPY HOUR
Hosted by Jane Healey, Historical Happy Hour is a live interview and podcast featuring premiere historical fiction authors and their latest novels.